McCaskill stands in ‘common ground’ at town hall

UCM+Freshman+Criminal+Justice+major%2C+Abigail+Holland+and+Missouri+Senator+%28D%29+Calire+McCaskill+pose+after+town+hall+Thursday%2C+Aug.+17.

UCM Freshman Criminal Justice major, Abigail Holland and Missouri Senator (D) Calire McCaskill pose after town hall Thursday, Aug. 17.

Written by Muleskinner Staff

by JACQUE FLANAGAN
Managing Editor
(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – At the start of Sen. Claire McCaskill’s town hall Thursday at the American Legion, a man raised his hand after a woman across the table raised hers. They were the only hands in the air in response to McCaskill’s request to “Raise your hand if you know you’ll never vote for me.”
“I was down in the Bootheel, this was years ago, and I had a good ‘ole boy approach me afterward and say, ‘I think you salted those questions, I think you knew what they were going to ask.’ And I thought to myself, ‘How do I fix this so that people are reassured that I’m going to answer any question that’s being asked,’” McCaskill said.
She selected the man to randomly pick written questions to prevent any more accusations. The crowd of approximately 100 laughed in response.
The first question asked where the senator stood on censuring President Donald Trump over his equivocal response to the Charlottesville, Virginia, conflict that took place Aug. 13.
“My job out there is not to fight the president. My job is to fight for you,” she said. “I think that all of us need to think about what we can do to bring people together. We are so divided right now. We all need to stay focused on how we can talk to people that we disagree with.”
Abigail Holland, a University of Central Missouri freshman criminal justice major with a minor in political science, said she was bothered by the crowd’s jeering reaction to her “soft” question asking for advice on how McCaskill got to where she is now.

UCM freshman criminal justice major, Abigail Holland and Sen. Claire McCaskill pose for a photo after a town hall meeting Thursday, Aug. 17.

“You’re talking about the future of health care and veterans and people in this country and then you say that my question isn’t important,” said Holland, in a followup phone interview. “You’re talking about your future, your kids’ future – I could be there (a senator) and you would be the ones voting. How can you say that it’s not an important question when I’m the future of America and how it will be ran.”
McCaskill said this is an important question. She said the advice she received when she was younger was to work hard, but she never waited for anyone to tap her on the shoulder to say it was her turn.
There was disruption in the crowd about the man selecting the questions, his wife having four consecutive questions in a row. Her questions addressed her concerns as a “white, conservative woman” being stereotyped as racist in the media and the vandalism of historical statues.
McCaskill said the vandalism should be prosecuted but every community has the choice to decide what they do or don’t erect with public money. She then assured the woman that no one in the room thinks she’s a racist and the problem is on both sides.
“We need to talk to people we disagree with. We need to not go to our respective corners and surround ourselves with those that agree with us,” McCaskill said. “We need more conversations between people like you and those that clapped when I said, ‘It’s not fair to call black people terrorists that are a part of Black Lives Matter.’ We need to talk to one another because I can assure you there is stereotyping on both sides.”
She continued to answer questions about the budget, national debt and cuts to higher education, the Paris Accord, sales tax, and health care.
McCaskill spoke against universal health care because it would increase the national debt. She said she believes everyone should be accountable for their own coverage, similar to car insurance. She said she is focused on bringing down costs in the pharmaceutical industry as a joint effort between both parties, acknowledging previous mistakes were made with the Affordable Care Act.
“When we got to the floor, we passed it with just Democratic votes. That was a mistake… a mistake because when you do it with just one party, it’s political. It’s not policy, it’s politics,” McCaskill said.
She closed the session by saying the good news after the second failed health care bill is that Congress is now able to stop playing politics and work on bringing together politicians in a bipartisan way.
“I do try to hang out in the middle and pull people in and find common ground. The Constitution itself was the product of a lot of compromise,” McCaskill said. “We’ve got to not lose sight of that value in America. That value that is compromise.”